Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento.
As part of a whistle-stop tour of the Canary Islands, the British Consular Regional Director William Middleton met with a group of mostly British residents who are very active in social media and information dissemination among the ex-pat population in Tenerife. The event was held in the Adeje Cultural Centre and was followed by a meeting between the Adeje councillor for institutional relations and communications, Zebenzui Chinea Lineras, and Mr Middleton, accompanied by the British Vice Consul Helen Keating and Mary Suarez from the consulate in Santa Cruz.
During the one hour session with local journalists, bloggers, media representatives and those who work directly with the ex-pat community, Mr Middleton dealt with a number of important issues, as well as talking about the importance of voter registration in advance of the June referendum on EU membership. He asked all of those present to use their information platforms to encourage everyone eligible to register to vote before May 16 (via https://www.gov.uk/register-
He pointed out that his main concern and role was to make sure people voted rather than encourage people to vote either for or against membership of the EU. He also pointed out that regardless of the vote on June 23rd, “nothing is going to happen the next day, on June 24th”, indicating that any change, if the vote is to leave, would take place over a longer period.
On the issue of registering on the ‘Padrón’ the local resident register in each borough, Mr Middleton reminded everyone of the importance the Embassy and the consulates place on residents being on the register. It was, he said, “a shorthand for planning for the future, planning for all eventualities. We see a lot of cases of people who make the transition to living in Spain but who still think they are actually living in the UK”. He added that as well as the obvious benefits to being on the register (such as 50% discount on air and boat travel within Spain for Canary Island residents for example, as well as education and health benefits), there were also downsides to not being registered, often realised when it was too late. He reminded people that in Spain national funding of councils is based directly on the number of people officially listed as being resident in each borough, so there was a direct relation between registration and funding received for local services such as health, education, social welfare, etc.
Following the lively meeting with the British community representatives and bloggers, Mr Middleton and the consular team met with Zebenzui Chinea Linares, the councillor for institutional relations. The councillor said his and the council’s doors were always open to all consular representatives, and he was delighted to welcome the team to Adeje again. “We are always very interested in working to help our British residents, and residents of all the different countries represented in our borough. Our doors are always open to the various consulates and we see that we are very much on same road to harmonious coexistence”.